Like other movie blogs I’ve written, I try to give the reader more of my impressions and interpretations instead of a simple description…that’s what Google and Wikipedia are for! Same goes for Blade Runner 2049. And my obligatory SPOILER notation.
Definitely Dystopian. Even more than the first Blade Runner movie directed by Ridley Scott, and that was pretty future-grime! But that’s great for this series…
Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Francher (whom co-scripted the original movie) and Michael Green, started off letting the audience know that the main protagonist, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), is not only a replicant, but a Blade Runner–a special enforcer sent out to “retire” (kill) the android-replicants; especially those that had escaped to Earth after turning mutinous against their human-creators (Blade Runner ‘82), in particular, the Off-Worlder ones. I think this is a good thing to establish upfront in the movie. Both in terms of “Fourth-Wall”-aspect of, in real life, the story of Blade Runner is one of the most well-loved SciFi movies in history, and in terms of the movie’s plot of not lingering too long as to whether or not Officer K is “one of them…?” There’s already enough back and forth about whether or not former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a replicant or human! One existential mystery is at capacity for one movie, in my opinion. Unless there was a very compelling need in the plot to have more identity-mysteries about who’s a replicant.
The bottom line for this particular mission for Officer K is he needs to kill, what is believed to be, the offspring of a human being and a replicant! K’s boss, Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright), rather simply, explained to Officer K that it would bring chaos to the known world–id est, only biological beings (humans, specifically) could procreate; not replicants! And certainly not a hybrid of human and replicant!
Speaking as an African-American with two bi-racial daughters from my interracial marriage, plus the history of interracial relationships and marriage in the US and other Western societies, this issue really spoke to me! Mind you, cross-racial relations are totally not even close as mixing a hominid with android, but the similarities works for me as a fan and viewer. Oh, by the way, it just so happens that the hybrid offspring is the union between former Officer Deckard and one of the replicants he was supposed to retire many decades ago by the name of Rachael (Sean Young)–an android made by the late-, and very smushed-face Dr. Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel)! The plot thickens… Indeed, a lot more to this detail in Blade Runner 2049, but even I draw the line as to how much Spoilery I put into my review-blogs!
I must say, in regards to character Lieutenant Joshi’s reasons given about maintaining that wall of societal order, besides the cross-species-android aspect to it all, I also saw it as that big word that we, in the Science Fiction business, and scientists love to throw around: SINGULARITY. This aspect of Blade Runner 2049 seems quite well-timed about humanity’s anxiousness about high-tech’s role in replacing us–humans–in the workforce and, dare I say, even in personal relationships, such as goes on quite a bit in this movie! And that’s one of the main thrust to the challenges of the Blade Runner series, isn’t it? In Blade Runner ‘82, did Deckard make love to Rachael in that piano scene, when she tried to run out of his L.A. apartment…? With the exception of a few publications and tv news-shows, the Singularity-issue is something in post-2016 election America that’s not talked intelligently enough in my opinion. Coal industry? Scrapping NAFTA (not as directly tied to Tech, but with productivity due to Tech…)? Does the US military really need to be so populated with humans when a lot of drones, driverless vehicles, etc, can do the job at a much-reduced cost?
Yeah, we’re in the midst of 2049-Singularity right now in 2017 and most of us don’t even seem to realize this! The Tech-Singularity is not like Hollywood’s SciFi movies; think self-checkout kiosks at a grocery store, a sensor on a production-line in a factory (I’ve seen that tech in person at one of the factories I’ve worked at years ago), or apps for social drivers instead of taxi cabs…Welcome to 2049; 2017-style!
From a more formal or design aspect of Blade Runner 2049, I really liked how they “culturally” tied in the environs of the settings with the original movie–tech-gadgetry whirring in the background that, we, Blade Runner fans recognize; the very manner how the characters give voice-commands to their computer-devices (think how Deckard talked to his device in ‘82-version while he inspected a photograph: makes me think of our phones and domestic voice-interface devices of today!); and, of course, that gritty, dystopian “feel” of Los Angeles of the future with all its cyberpunk naughtiness, neons, and holograms!
I’m not giving away the ending. I don’t think any Spoilery-blog or movie review should ever do that. I will say that a potential reviewer should beware that, happily, I’d put ‘49 more into the “Intellectual-SciFi,” or “Cerebral-Scifi” category. Trust me, I love the typical Hollywood, action-packed SciFi movies. But it’s refreshing to watch a movie where there is so much silence or quietness; giving the viewer time to absorb the scenes! I’ve mentioned this in one of my other movie blogs: The gauge that my wife and I use as to how good a movies is or is not, we ask this simple question to one another: Is It Blu Ray-worthy?
Now, that, spoiler I can unequivocally answer and say hell yes!
** You can read my Facebook-version HERE>> https://www.facebook.com/notes/joseth-moore/blade-runner-2049-blog-review-tech-society-the-singularity/1452598904823465/
Sources: Wikipedia, Google, IMdB, the movie, Blade Runner 2049.
Image: Reddit member; Google-search.